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Arriva to land £1.5bn contract to deliver London Overground services

Transport for London (TfL) has named Arriva as its preferred bidder to take over the £1.5bn London Overground contract later this year.

The train company will deliver a variety of services, including rolling stock and station improvements, for seven and a half years from 13 November.

The news comes after Arriva was awarded the Northern franchise back in December, which included a £490m contract to introduce new rolling stock to replace the TOC’s Pacers.

Chris Burchell, managing director of Arriva’s UK trains division, said: “It is exciting to be given the opportunity to build on the major improvements we have made in recent years and we are delighted to be playing a key role in the next phase of London’s growth and development.”

He added that Arriva will work closely with TfL to introduce further improvements to the network.

Arriva successfully outbid competitors including MTR, which has jointly operated the London Overground franchise for nine years alongside Deutsche Bahn AG of Germany, after the bidding process was launched last year. DB’s interest in LOROL was, however, managed by Arriva.

Arriva’s planned improvements include boosting frequency on the North London line by 25%, introducing new services from this Boxing Day, extending operating hours on some lines, introducing new trains from 2018 on routes out of Liverpool Street and on the Gospel Oak to Barking Line, and modernising stations.

Arriva will take over from MTR

In response, Jeremy Long, MTR’s European business CEO,  who recently wrote for RTM about effective collaboration on the modern railway, said: “MTR has been involved in London Overground since its inception, so we are obviously very disappointed that we won’t be working with TfL on the network’s next chapter.

“MTR has helped transform Overground from a series of underperforming and out-of-use lines into one of the country’s best railways, regenerating many areas of London. The success of Overground is testament to TfL’s vision, investment and stewardship, and the commitment of our staff, MTR colleagues, Network Rail, and our partners to delivering for passengers.”

Gareth Powell, TfL’s London Rail chief operating officer, said: "We have worked hard to deliver major improvements for our customers, taking a neglected part of the transport network and transforming it to support new homes, jobs and economic growth across the Capital. Arriva will build on this by extending operating hours, improving frequencies and introducing new trains. I would also like to thank the existing operator LOROL for their work that has helped make London Overground the huge success story it is today.”

TfL also said that they would encourage closer working between Arriva, Bombardier and Network Rail to improve services, including financial penalties for Arriva should incidents caused by Network Rail, train and freight operators impact on London Overground services and tightening the rail industry standard measurement for punctuality for commuter services to three minutes within the scheduled arrival time.

TfL is investing £320m this year in increasing train capacity in London and recently rolled out five-car trains on the Overground.

The contract award comes after it was recently revealed that Arriva Trains Wales saw a 3% decline in its public performance measure (PPM) during period 12 compared to last year, and a survey by consumer group Which? found that passengers ranked it among the worst performing train services for delays.

(Image c. TfL)


Jerry Alderson   18/03/2016 at 13:56

Please can someone explain the £1.5bn figure? I assume it is over 7.5 years (not 9.5), and with inflation so low it doesn't matter much whether it is NPV or nominal. Is £1.5bn the predicted gross passenger income, or operating cost paid to Arriva (it's clearly far more than Arriva's 'fee' for meeting all its KPIs). Does it include any investment (e.g. rolling stock)?

John   18/03/2016 at 17:11

Arriva is owned by DB. XC Trains is owned by Arriva, so I only hope that Londoners won't get the same treatment that XC's customers get on the Birmingham - Leicester - Stanstead Airport route - Rubbish!

Andrew Gwilt   18/03/2016 at 20:31

Could of been won by Abellio or National Express as either one of those bidders would of taken over the LOROL franchise. But well Arriva.

Andrew Gwilt   18/03/2016 at 20:32

But well done Arriva*

David   19/03/2016 at 22:09

John, I've used that route before, electric 4-car trains could really benefit it but I don't see what is wrong?

Tim Castle   20/03/2016 at 16:23

Does MTR keep the cross rail bits?

Duncan Jack   21/03/2016 at 22:05

Arriva are part of what is effectively German State Railways. Just checking, but how many foreign rail franchises operate in Germany, or France for that matter?

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